(SQUIRRELS/WILDLIFE) January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day and a good time to celebrate our furry friends. The holiday was founded in 2001 by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator in Asheville, North Carolina.
Celebrated in mid-winter when food sources are scarce, you can show your appreciation by giving your local squirrel buddies some treats of nuts, seeds, or fruit.
Below, we have compiled a list of fun facts to honor the squirrel on his special day!
1. The earliest known squirrels date from the Eocene epoch (56 to 33.9 million years ago).
2. Squirrels are native to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa.
3. There are 285 species of squirrels.
4. Their diets generally consists of nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fruits, fungi, green vegetation and sometimes small insects.
5. They live in all habitats except for the extreme arctic cold and very dry deserts.
6. Ground squirrels can warn each other of predatory danger by a whistling sound.
7. Flying squirrels don’t actually fly but glide across the sky, extending their arms and legs and creating flaps with their skin that resemble wings.
8. Squirrels’ front teeth continue to grow since they are constantly using them to gnaw.
9. They live in trees or burrows in the ground.
10. They can jump from as high as 20 feet.
11. Baby squirrels are called “kittens.”
12. Squirrel is derived from the Ancient Greek word Skiouros, which appropriately means “shadow tail.”
13. The Indian giant squirrel can be about three feet long.
14. Sly Squirrels will pretend to bury food to deceive onlookers.
15. The squirrel has been transformed into several cartoon characters, including Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Scrat from 20th Century Fox’s Ice Age movies.
— Elana Pisani, exclusive to Global Animal